The online forums have been busy the last month with posts about Microsoft security update MS14-082 which breaks ActiveX controls embedded on worksheets. It finally reared its ugly head at my workplace this week which has prompted me to mention it on here. My employer is a large, financial institution with offices around the world. Update MS14-082 was rolled out in its US offices but not in Europe and Asia which meant that the problem manifested itself in two ways.
Firstly, users in the US found that any ActiveX controls on worksheets stopped working once the update had been installed. They would click on the controls but nothing would happen. This symptom resembles the one I blogged about when you give an ActiveX control embedded on a worksheet a name which is too long. To fix it we simply had to close down all Office applications and delete any files with an .exd extension from the C:\.
Secondly, we found that, if a user in US saved a workbook with ActiveX controls on worksheets, users elsewhere in the world (who did not have the update installed) would not be able to run VBA code in it. The ActiveX controls wouldn’t work and if they tried to compile the code they would get the compile error: “Object library invalid or contains references to object definitions that could not be found”. The easiest way to fix this one is to install the update and then delete .exd files as described above. However, that wasn’t an immediate option in the corporate environment so, for any critical workbooks, we had to delete the ActiveX controls from the worksheets and replace them with their Forms controls counterparts. The caveat to this workaround is that the ActiveX controls must be deleted by a user with the update installed: if a user without the update tries to do it then it immediately crashes Excel.
If you’re experiencing problems in relation to this security update then you can refer to The MS Excel Support Team Blog and knowledge base article KB3025036 which describe all known issues and corresponding resolutions.